'Other Acts' Evidence: Recent Decisions by the Court of Appeals Undermine the Efficacy of Maryland Rule 5-404(B)

University of Baltimore Law Forum, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2000

30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2008

See all articles by Lynn McLain

Lynn McLain

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

Four recent decisions by the Court of Appeals of Maryland have unduly burdened trial courts in their rulings regarding "other acts" evidence. Unnecessary reversals will result from Wynn's refusal to evaluate whether the trial court's decision was justified on a ground not stated explicitly at the trial level. The same is true of Streater's requirements that the trial judge, having ruled correctly on the stated objection, rule sua sponte under Rule 5-404(b) and then provide a detailed Faulkner analysis on the record. Klauenberg's misapplication of the Rule is sure to add to the confusion.

Contrary to the majority federal law, Sessoms leaves the courts unable to use Rule 5-404(b) in analyzing "other acts" evidence in criminal cases concerning acts of persons other than the accused. Far better to apply Rule 5-404(b), which provides a route for the admission of sufficiently probative "other acts" evidence, remove the Faulkner gloss requiring clear and convincing proof of those acts, and rely on the trial courts' application of Rule 5-403 to exclude insufficiently probative evidence, regardless which party offers it.

Keywords: evidence, Maryland, other acts, Sessoms, Streater, Faulkner, Klauenberg, Wynn

JEL Classification: K14, K41

Suggested Citation

McLain, Lynn, 'Other Acts' Evidence: Recent Decisions by the Court of Appeals Undermine the Efficacy of Maryland Rule 5-404(B) (2000). University of Baltimore Law Forum, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1161295

Lynn McLain (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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